There will be no shortage of intriguing storylines when the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos take the field at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday (CTV, 5:25 p.m. kick-off).
Heading into the playoffs, Seattle and Denver were the #1 seeds in their conferences. Seattle led pretty much wire to wire in the NFC, finishing with a 13-3 record. In the NFC final they fell behind 10-0 early to a tough San Francisco Forty-Niner team, but gutted it out and won 23-17. Like the Seahawks, the Broncos finished 13-3 and led the AFC most of the way. In the AFC semi-final they beat a solid San Diego Charger team 24-17 then dispatched the so-so New England Patriots 26-16.
The Seahawks finished the season ranked #1 in a lot of statistical categories on defense. But led by second-year QB Russell Wilson and bruising running back Marshawn Lynch they have some offensive pop too. Although not as much as the Peyton Manning led Broncos. After falling short in their bid to reach the Super Bowl last year with a double-OT loss to the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens in the AFC semi-final, they were lights out on offence most of the year — with Manning posting insane numbers including NFL records for TD passes (55) and yardage (5,477).
On defence, the Broncos don’t match-up statistically to the Seahawks, but they’ve been playing well lately and are probably under-rated. Although they are a bit banged up.
Of all the players in today’s game, Manning is apparently the only one with a Super Bowl ring which he won with the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI. And for Saskatchewan football fans there’s a huge local angle with Regina-born Jon Ryan punting for the Seahawks. He’s the first player from Saskatchewan to play in the Super Bowl, and to celebrate the city even raised the Seahawk flag at City Hall.
Then there’s the weather. Typically, the NFL holds the Super Bowl in warm-weather locations like Florida, Louisiana or California. The Super Bowl has been played in Detroit, Minneapolis and Indianapolis once each — but those were all dome games.
MetLife doesn’t have a dome. And with the United States suffering through a pretty brutal winter high-lighted by the polar vortex that descended in early January and sent the mercury plunging to record levels pretty well everywhere, a lot of worst-case scenarios have been contemplated related to bone-chilling cold, blizzards, freezing rain and fierce winds.
In the first week of Super Bowl hype, one of the biggest stories was the plunging price of Super Bowl tickets on the resale market. First off, the game’s in America’s biggest (and richest) market. And while neither the New York Giants or New York Jets are playing, Seattle and Denver both have rabid fans who are somewhat starved for success. Seattle is gunning for its first Super Bowl championship in their 38-year history, while Denver, despite many close calls, only has two titles, with the last coming in 1998. But resale tickets were not a hot item, and the consensus was that the shit weather this winter had people gun-shy of attending in person.
The weather for tomorrow in New Jersey is forecast to be pretty decent (game time temp of 4 degrees C with light winds and a small chance of precipitation) so it shouldn’t have an impact on the game. The half-time entertainment is always a big deal at the Super Bowl, and this year Bruno Mars and this band are performing. Again, kick-off is at 5:30 p.m.